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About Delphius1

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  1. Okay, so.... the rusty oil cooler thingy has been deleted and transmission fluid replaced, another tick in the job box. My tame mechanic looked at the front arm bushes yesterday but needs another bite of the cherry because his transmission jack couldn't lift the combined weight of the engine and transmission high enough to remove the engine mountings and uncover the front bush mounts. I've got to book another day when he has more time and hopefully a cunning plan to lift the engine, or he has to drop the subframe. I did tell him it would be longer than an afternoon's work. :-) Anyway, the latest instalment on the job creation front looks like leaky cam cover gaskets. The engine has suddenly (yesterday) decided to leak oil onto the hot exhaust for no reason other than to prove that not all Lexuses are reliable. I suspect a blocked PCV valve, mainly because it has just started happening for no apparent reason, with no evidence of leaks before. Of course a blocked PCV valve allows pressure to build up and blow oil vapour out of the weakest point. Hopefully changing or cleaning the valve will restore oil-tight integrity and I won't have to delve into the bowels of the engine bay removing the intake plenum to replace the cam cover gaskets. Thankfully a PCV valve on eBay is less than £20 so replacement won't break the bank. This car is starting to get a Lemony smell about it... and it's not the air freshener!
  2. I'm a bit paranoid about the battery state on cars that have so many electrical toys, especially as the wife tends to keep the seat heater on constantly (why do women do that?). But because the car is so dependent on the battery being in good condition and the fact there are so many toys to drain it even on an RX300, I installed this little doohickey. Two hi-current USB ports and a digital voltmeter all in one. It need some slight adjustment of the switch position with a file, but I'm sure will be invaluble over the winter. Keeps the mobile charged as well and turned out to be a pretty tidy setup: The battery is a bit healthier now, that was after a few days of mucking about with the lights on and the engine not running. Back up to 12.6v with the engine off now.
  3. You do need to use hose clips to secure the hoses, but using jubilee clips allows you to get a driver in from the side, above or below to tighten them which is easier than using the old spring clips which are definitely attached before assembly. I did the trans flush this week. It took 9 litres of fluid to do. The gear changes have smoothed out since the change, but not as dramatically as some of the how-toos online suggest. On to the next job ....
  4. I agree with Brian26. If you don't have any dampness in the car then a mouldy aircon unit would be the first port of call. There are many products available that can disinfect the Aircon and heater matrix. Damp carpets point to an actual water leak so it's worth checking around the footwells and the boot.
  5. Codes P0420 and P0403 refer to the catalyst efficiency for cylinder bank one and bank two respectively. Part of the OBD2 standard is that the ECU has to be able to measure the efficiency of the cat and report any deviations, so the car has oxygen sensors before and after the first cat in the exhuast stream. The first O2 sensor measures the result of the combustion process and the ECU alters fuelling to suit. The O2 sensor after the cat checks the efficiency and that's what these codes refer to. It's unusual for both banks of a "V" configuration engine to report problems with cat efficiency simultaneously. Usually there's an air leak in the exhaust manifold that allows excess oxygen to enter the exhaust on one side and cause the efficiency code on that side to be thrown. It would be unusual and very unlucky for both cats to suddenly become inefficient both at the same time. If both banks report problems it's possible something upstream of the combustion process is causing the issue, so it's possible an air leak in the intake could be responsible, that would affect both banks simultaneously. It would really need some diagnosis to find out the cause. A decent diagnstic centre should be able to look at the figures coming out of the ECU via the OBD2 connector and narrow down the cause. I've seen it before on a car that I modified. The ECU couldn't cope with the amount of air entering the engine so the mixture was very lean, resulting in excess oxygen in the exhaust and tripping the cat efficiency code on the ECU.
  6. Difficult question to answer remotely. It depends on the state of the hybrid battery, the state of the 12v battery and the other software & hardware interlocks such as gears that would prevent the engine from starting as it should. Do you have any error message on the dash like hybrid error? With a good hybrid battery charge, the 12v battery should be in a good state of charge too. I can't remember whether the starter iruns from the 12v or not, but if it does, a low 12v battery may prevent the engine from being started to avoid issues with all the other 12v systems. All this hybrid trickery is new to me, but I do feel there should be some way of starting the internal cumbustion engine independent of the state of the hybrid system so you can limp home using the ICE. It just seems there is a bit too much interdependence in the system.
  7. Delphius1

    RX300 calendar

    Obviously Lexus knows that's when the world really ends. Cue cheesy impossible CGI effects-heavy movie sponsored by Lexus where the protagonist drives an RX300 through falling buildings and over jumps, all without affecting the car's ability to drive. At the end of the day, I don't know what you can do really. I'm not sure if that part of the software is updateable. It does seem a bit short-sighted to put a limit (in my car's case 16 years) on the calendar function if they expected people to use it. It'll be interesting if it also affects the maintenance application. I mean, the cars should last past 2020 so why doesn't the calendar reflect that?
  8. Did the all the hoses finally this last weekend. I made sure it was proper oil cooler hose and they can be routed so they don't rub against anything. The bad news is it took 3 hours to do them in total, the majority of the time was taken trying to get the old hose clips off because there was no space to get pliers in there. In the end I used a small set of snipe nosed pliers and a lot of skinned knuckles to free the old hoses. The original hoses are 10mm, which is not easy to get. I did have some 3/8 (9.7mm) oil cooler hose from ages ago, but it wouldn't slide over the hose fittings on the RX properly no matter what I did. I ended up ordering 7/16 (11mm) braided hose off eBay and 1m of hose is enough to replace the two hoses to the oil cooler. I plan to have a couple of days off work this week so I should be able to do a transmission fluid flush while I'm off. I know a bit about cars. When it comes to mechaniking I'm a talented amateur. :-) I'm not sure when I'll get time to fit the bushes. What I do know is that I'll unbolt the bottom ball joints from the arms rather than split the ball joints as that means there's less chance of damaging the ball joint dust boot. I don't have level ground at home to do the work, so I might have to pay someone to do it for me. There's a friendly garage next to work that we use from time to time that may be able to do the work. We do have a press that should do the job at work if I could get the arms off, but I think the suspension work may be beyond a lunchtime session in the works car park. :-)
  9. The Superpro Polyurethane bushes arrived this week. They look pretty chunky: Looking at the instructions, they need pressing into the arms with a hydraulic press. Certainly the rear ones with the steel ring will need to be pressed in and the instructions show the front ones being pressed over the mounting pins as well. Both kits come with sachets of grease which is a nice touch and will help installation. In other news I have braided Oil cooler hose arriving today so I can bypass all the transmission oil pipes. I fitted a temporary hose to bypass the leaking pipe, which took an hour to fit thanks to the lack of space. I have 10 litres of transmission fluid so I can do a flush of the auto box at the same time as bypassing the metal pipes. The hoses I can hopefully do this weekend.
  10. I did get this once when I selected the "screen off " option on the display menu screen. I had to go back (hit the display button) and set it back to normal. If you press the display button the screen off option is at the top right. As an aside brightness is set by pressing display and then the brightness slider is at the bottom right of the screen.
  11. There's still the radiator cooler even on the earlier models which is usually sufficient. I'm sure some time and motion study at Toyota decided it was cheaper to fabricate two pipes and bolt them to the front valance and pay a guy for 20 seconds to join the autobox hoses to the pipes with easy access. Otherwise it's pay him anywhere between 2-5 minutes as he furtles about plugging the pipes into the radiator or auto box directly with very little space to work in. That's a long way down the assembly track getting in the way of all the other assembly workers and delaying other parts being fitted and running up costs... :-)
  12. Yep, the oil cooler is sat in the L/H wing in front of the wheel arch and the transmission oil also goes through the radiator, so there's plenty of cooling without the steel tubes behind the bumper. Hence why I'm convinced the steel tubes aren't really an oil cooler (even though that's what Lexus call it on their diagrams) but a device to make assembly easier. I'll see how things go with it bypassed.
  13. First off, if you set your sights on an RX300, check the road tax levels, you may be shocked, especially when they jump up around 2005. Not sure about the hybrid, I didn't look at the time. The big thing to avoid on the RX300 and the RX400h is the air suspension. £600+ per corner for each suspension leg! Plus you'll probably have to replace the compressor because if you get an air leak it tends to eat itself. Then factor in labour on top. Spring suspension is more reliable. With the air suspension it's a case of when you replace parts, not if. If you got for an RX300 then the best/most practical spec is the SE Navigator so you get the sat nav, dash screen and reversing camera. Not sure on non-air suspension spec levels for the RX400h Both will be a bit old now, so corrosion on underbody bits can be an issue. I've had a couple of corroded parts on my 2004 RX300 fail and needed replacing. Both are big old barges so tend to be hard on brakes and suspension. Anti roll bar bushes and drop links as well as brakes and general suspension bushes. Check for knocks and thumps as you go over undulating roads and uneven tyre wear. Not hard to fix unless it's the front ARB "D" bushes - they're a bit buried, or the front bushes - you have to prop the engine up to remove/replace the front arms. It's worth checking the service history for recent work in that area, although not necessarily a deal-breaker as fixing isn't the end of the world. Lots of electric toys on both to go wrong, so make sure everything works. Mirrors, sunroof, reversing camera, wipers, lights, heater, aircon, etc. should all work as Lexus designed. Water ingress at the rear is a problem on both. Supposedly a split seam allows water in just in front of the rear hatch and requires re-welding to fix. Musty smells are to be avoided. When looking for mine I saw one with mouldy rear seat belts wet rear seats and a mouldy smell in the cabin. So leaky ones are out there. I walked away from that one. The power rear hatches can fail, not a cheap fix (nothing is with a Lexus!), but then again lifting the hatch manually is not a pain. But you do lose pose points.. Both have cam belts on the engine, so a service history that tells you when the cam belt was last done is an advantage. It's preferrable to have even wear on the tyres as the gear train can get stressed by uneven wear. 4 identical evenly worn tyres with plenty of tread is the most desirable option and saves you having to change tyres after purchase. Sorry to sound like a broken record but...they are not cheap to replace. But then again you don't buy a Lexus to enjoy bargain motoring.
  14. Here's an update. The oil cooler leak got worse, so I've used microbore copper pipe to join the two rubber hoses together temporarily. So far everything ok. Had to cut the hoses off the oil cooler because the "ears" on the spring clips disintegrated when i tried to release the clips. I suspect the rusty tube isn't actually an oil cooler, but is really there to allow the transmission cooling hoses to be easily joined to the rad when the car is being assembled and the power train mated to the body. As the car already has the arch-mounted "proper" atf oil cooler in the transmission cooling line the steel tube thing seems superfluous. At 70-odd quid, I've decided to bypass it and just buy a metre of oil cooler hose. I'll run new hoses between the rad, proper oil cooler and auto box. Space is tight, so it may be a bit difficult and knuckles will be skinned. But I'm saving oodles of money that is going into the suspension bush issue. I've ordered polyurethane SuperPro bushes from these chaps: They don't keep bushes for the RX in stock but Rob, the nice chap on the phone said as they are a SuperPro distributor they could get them in and sent out to me. Hopefully within 10 days. SuperPro are the only company I can see that does the front and the rear bushes for the front arms in Polyurethane for the RX300. The bushes came to over £100 with postage, but far better than £300 for replacement arms with rubber bushes. Fitting isn't going to be easy with the aformentioned difficulties, but I may have a cheap way round that. Then there's getting the wheel alignment done. I'm looking forward to seeing how much improvement there is in the steering and handling front. Hopefully it will steer round corners when I want it to and not half a second later. :-) More updates to follow as I get the jobs done.
  15. Guys, thanks for the suggestions and the sympathy. Luckily the oil cooler is stand-alone so no real issues with replacing it other than I'll probably swap the sorry-looking springy hose clips for jubilee clips. I did think of copper pipe, but I'm not sure if there would be a bad reaction to the copper. I'm probably going to find some steel pipe of the same bore and then use it as a link to a rubber hose and just make a loop of rubber hose for now. It's not like the weather is going to be hot and the car does have the oil cooler in the nearside wheel arch, so that can do the cooling until I get a replacement steel pipe. Which will be coated to make it last longer! Looking on ebay you can get a couple of "proper" motorcycle oil coolers for less than the Lexus bent steel pipe! As for the MPG, my gut instinct is front wheel alignment as the offside front tyre has that shiny appearance on the inside you get when it wears a bit too much. Also when you take your foot off the throttle there is a perceptible drag and the car slows down more than it used to. Only happened after my run over the Snake pass and back, I've jacked it up and the brakes don't bind and no fault codes on the OBD so the logical thing is alignment. Being a big old barge they are hard on bushes, so polyurethane may be the way to go. The rear bushes on the front arm are available in the uk, but the front bushes may be difficult to source. I know powerflex do them but I've not seen the RX on any supplier lists. Looking on t'internet the front bush for the front lower arm might be a pain to replace. I have heard mention of dropping the subframe in order to undo the bolts. I hope that's not the case, I would really like it to be easy and be able to do it myself rather than pay someone. :-) Of course after it's done it will need wheel alignment as well. <gets ready to apply fire extinguisher to wallet...> UPDATE: Found this video on youtube, the engine mounts need removing to get at the front bushes, so the subframe doesn't need dropping, but the engine does need propping up while you do it: